Ford will kill off the Fiesta this year.
June will see the last ever Fiesta come off assembly lines, bringing to an end 47 years of continuous production of Britain’s most bought – and currently most owned – car in history.
For Ford enthusiasts who aren’t quite ready to let the Fiesta go, there’s a very rare opportunity in the coming days to get their hands on an original Mk1 model that’s heading to auction with barely any miles on the clock.
The 1981 Fiesta Bravo – a special limited-edition model of which only 3,000 were made that year – will go to auction this month, with experts predicting it could go for around £10,000 as collectors scramble over quality examples of the evergreen supermini.
Bravo! This Mk1 Ford Fiesta Bravo is set to go to auction from Sunday. When it was sold new in 1981, the price was £4,215. Experts believe it will sell for twice as much, given the recent rise in demand for classic Fiestas
Ford produced the two-tone Fiesta Bravo in 1981, which is based on the first-generation Fiesta L.
While it was offered with the choice of a 1.1 or 1.3-litre petrol engine, this low-mileage example being offered by Car & Classic is the former.
The four-cylinder petrol engine produced just 40 horsepower. Linked to a four-speed manual gearbox, the 0-to-62mph acceleration time is a pedestrian 19.7 seconds and the top speed – reported in 1981 – is 81mph.
The Bravo I (and Bravo II limited-edition followed in 1982) was sold in two alternative colour schemes, with registration ‘TVF 938W’ combining Ford Strato Silver with Cobalt Blue.
Collectors have been buying up Fiestas in recent months on the back of the announcement in October that Ford will discontinue the nameplate in June, ending 47 years of consecutive production of the UK’s most bought car ever
Ford produced the two-tone Fiesta Bravo I in 1981, which is based on the first-generation Fiesta L and was sold with a 1.1 or 1.3-litre engine. This car has the former
The Bravo I (and Bravo II limited-edition followed in 1982) was sold in two alternative colour schemes, with registration ‘TVF 938W’ combining Ford Strato Silver with Cobalt Blue with a red racing stripe dividing the paints
The original launch description for the car issued by Ford in 1981 read: ‘Designed as a special value package, the Bravo not only incorporates a number of items at lower cost than their optional price but also incorporates features which are not normally available.
‘These include a glass sunroof, tinted window glass, halogen headlights, 4.5-inch rim wheels, gradient-band tinted windscreen, full instrumentation, passenger vanity mirror, four-spoke steering wheel, cigar lighter and front and rear grab handles.
‘With the exception of a vinyl roof and all other colour schemes, the full range of optional equipment normally quoted for the Fiesta will be available.’
An original Fiesta Bravo II manual from 1982. The car being auctioned is a Bravo I, which was sold during 1981. Just 3,000 were built
Ford only made 3,000 examples of the Bravo I in 1981. The price of this 1.1-litre model back then was £4,215 (the 1.3 was £4,395)
Additional spec included a glass sunroof, tinted window glass, halogen headlights, 4.5-inch rim wheels, gradient-band tinted windscreen, full instrumentation, passenger vanity mirror, four-spoke steering wheel, cigar lighter and front and rear grab handles
When the 3,000 examples hit Ford showrooms 42 years ago, the price of this 1.1-litre model was £4,215 (the 1.3 was £4,395).
Car & Classic believes this totally original version will sell in the coming days for twice that price.
The lot description states that the Fiesta is in ‘very good, original condition’.
This comes as little surprise given its relatively low mileage, having covered just 12,598 miles from new – that’s an average of 300 miles a year since it came off the assembly line.
The seats are backed with blue vinyl and faced with a light grey, meshed material. All the upholstery is in excellent condition, with the only minor note being a small (approximately 3mm) hole in the fabric of the driver’s seat
Car & Classic, the online auction company entrusted to sell the Fiesta to the highest bidder, believes there are fewer than 20 examples of the Bravo I on the road today
This car has been passed between seven owners in its 42-year life and spent at least a decade in hiding between 2011 and 2021, though still retains all its original features
The online auction company believes there are fewer than 20 examples of the Bravo I on the road today.
This car has been passed between seven owners in its 42-year life and spent at least a decade in hiding, though still retains all its original features.
‘The Mk1 Bravo has retained its in-period dealer plates, correct 12-inch wheels and the familiar red pinstripes and ‘Bravo’ decals (typical of the Bravo that didn’t appear in the Bravo II),’ Car & Classic says.
‘It was SORN-ed [declared off the road] from 2011 to 2021, before being briefly used again.
‘The five-figure odometer shows 12,600 miles driven by seven owners (from new), and the Fiesta is currently SORN-ed.’
It is showing as having fewer than 12,600 miles on the clock. That means it has covered an average of 300 miles each year since it was built
The auction lot even includes the original brochure sold with the car by a Bournemouth Ford dealership in 1981
The lot description states that the Fiesta is in ‘very good, original condition’, with the paintwork, wheels and chrome all in good order
While the Mk1 Fiesta went into production at the company’s factory in Cologne in 1976. However, the first examples didn’t appear on the UK market until February 1977. The special-edition Bravo arrived another four years later
The Bravo moniker has become a nostalgic reference, especially for collectors of Ford models.
That’s because the Fiesta was originally poised to be named Bravo until right before its launch in 1976.
‘It is a brilliant opportunity to own a rare version of the much-loved city car we have seen on our roads for almost half a century and just before its production, in the current form, is halted forever,’ says Car & Classic head of editorial, Chris Pollitt.
SEVEN GENERATIONS OF FORD FIESTA IN PICTURES
Why is Ford killing off the immensely popular Fiesta?
End of the road for the Fiesta: Ford has confirmed it will cease production at the end of June with the model scrapped as part of the company’s electrification plans
Despite the Fiesta remaining the best-selling car for over a decade up to 2020, Ford confirmed last October that production of the model will finish at the brand’s factory in Cologne, Germany, ‘by the end of June 2023’.
It already stopped building three-door examples in the spring and has not made a diesel-engined Fiesta since October 2020.
The immensely popular nameplate is being culled by Ford as part of its plans to go electric, with bosses promising to sell only fully electric or plug-in hybrid cars in the UK and Europe by 2026, and only battery-powered vehicles from 2030.
Ford will also be ceasing outputs of its S-Max and Galaxy people carriers in April 2023 in response to a market shift away from MPVs to larger SUVs.
> Read our in-depth report on the death of the Fiesta
Fiesta values are on the rise
Demand for good-condition original Fiestas has been on the rise in recent months, driven by Ford’s announcement last year that the nameplate will be discontinued in 2023.
Bosses confirmed on 26 October that production of the current Fiesta will come to an end in June, with Ford plotting to replace it will an all-new electrified small car to take its place and drive it towards a battery-powered future.
This will be a poignant moment for many Britons.
With 4.8million Fiestas sold in the UK since 1976, generations of drivers are likely to have owned, driven or ridden in one.
In a statement, Ford said: ‘At Ford in Europe, we are accelerating our efforts to go all-in on electrification with our passenger vehicles being fully electric by 2030 – and all vehicles across our Ford portfolio by 2035.
‘As we get ready to transition to an electric future, we will discontinue production of S-Max and Galaxy in Valencia, Spain in April 2023 and discontinue Fiesta production in Cologne, Germany by end of June 2023.’
The company’s official Twitter account posted: ‘It’s time to say goodbye to the little car that has touched us all.
‘The big moments, the little moments, and all the ‘firsts’ – thanks for the memories.’
It then added: ‘As one era ends, another is just getting started – and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got coming,’ with the tweet signed off with a plug and bolt of lightning emoji, hinting towards the electric replacement that will ultimately follow.
The plucky Fiesta topped Britain’s sales charts 16 times in its history, which is more than any other motor, leading other volume-selling Fords from yesteryear, including the Cortina and Escort.
With around 1.54million Fiestas registered on the road today, it remains the nation’s most common car.
All of the internal switchgear and driving controls look food, with some light patina from age
The Bravo moniker has become a nostalgic reference, especially for collectors of Ford models. That’s because the Fiesta was originally poised to be named Bravo until right before its launch in 1976
The 1.1-litre four-cylinder petrol engine produced just 40 horsepower. It is linked to a four-speed manual gearbox. The 0-62mph time is a pedestrian 19.7 seconds and the top speed reported in 1981 was 81mph
Nostalgia is reportedly already driving a rise in value of collectable examples, namely the XR2 and XR2i hot hatches, though enthusiasts are also on the hunt for quality examples of original Mk1 and Mk2 Fiestas that have been preserved by loving owners.
‘We know that, since the current model’s discontinuation announcement, Ford Fiesta searches on Car & Classic’s platform have gone up by almost 20 per cent, and those of the Mk1, specifically, by over 150 per cent,’ Pollitt adds.
‘Interest in the hugely popular city car is only going to increase this year,’ he concludes.
The seven-day online auction begins on Sunday (29 January).
Best-selling new cars in the UK for the last 50 years
1971 Austin Morris 1100/1300 – 133,527 registrations
1972 Ford Cortina – 187,159
1973 Ford Cortina – 181,607
1974 Ford Cortina – 131,234
1975 Ford Cortina – 106,787
1976 (Fiesta arrives) Ford Escort – 133,959
1977 Ford Cortina – 120,601*
1978 Ford Cortina – 139,204*
1979 Ford Cortina – 193,784
1980 Ford Cortina – 190,281
1981 Ford Cortina – 159,804
1982 Ford Escort – 166,942
1983 Ford Escort – 174,190
1984 Ford Escort – 157,340*
1985 Ford Escort – 157,269*
1986 Ford Escort – 156,895*
1987 Ford Escort – 178,001
1988 Ford Escort – 172,706*
1989 Ford Escort – 181,218
1990 Ford Fiesta – 151,475
1991 Ford Fiesta – 117,181
1992 Ford Escort – 121,140
1993 Ford Escort – 122,002
1994 Ford Escort – 144,089
1995 Ford Escort – 137,760
1996 Ford Fiesta – 139,680
1997 Ford Fiesta – 119,478*
1998 Ford Fiesta – 116,120
1999 Ford Focus – 103,242
2000 Ford Focus – 114,529
2001 Ford Focus – 137,087
2002 Ford Focus – 151,236
2003 Ford Focus – 131,701
2004 Ford Focus – 141,021
2005 Ford Focus – 145,010
2006 Ford Focus – 137,694
2007 Ford Focus – 126,928
2008 Ford Focus – 101,593
2009 Ford Focus – 117,296
2010 Ford Fiesta – 103,013
2011 Ford Fiesta – 96,112
2012 Ford Fiesta – 109,265
2013 Ford Fiesta – 121,929
2014 Ford Fiesta – 131,254
2015 Ford Fiesta – 133,434
2016 Ford Fiesta – 120,525
2017 Ford Fiesta – 94,533
2018 Ford Fiesta – 95,892
2019 Ford Fiesta – 77,833
2020 Ford Fiesta – 49,174
2021 Vauxhall Corsa – 40,914
*figures not confirmed
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